Memorial Day

I’ve been going back and forth all day wondering if I should write this post, but in the end I figure this is the place I lay it all out. Hope you all like what I have to say!

Memorial Day has never been a real happy occasion for my family. Before I was born, my uncle was killed in a car accident on that day. Never fun to have that sort of tragedy on what should be a holiday weekend, but I do believe it’s fitting as this isn’t really a celebratory type of holiday anyway.

Memorial Day is, for most of us, a long weekend away from work and a chance to spend time with family. Many of us participate in parades and flag ceremonies to honor our fallen veterans. Barbecues and picnics are common. All of this is wonderful, but to be honest, growing up this was all just a sad weekend.

My grandfather was in the Army during WWII. He was in Germany and although he never really talked about it, I know that he drove trucks and transported wounded soldiers off the front lines. I’m sure he saw things that scarred him for life, but he was the best grandpa ever! He definitely was my hero.

Since he never would talk about his experience, he certainly didn’t want to celebrate on Memorial Day. He would be very quiet, I assume because he was remembering all those fallen soldiers he witnessed first hand, and then also because his son was gone. So much heartache, but it didn’t stop his patriotic spirit.

Grandpa didn’t always agree with every change he saw in the country, but he was always proud to be free. He instilled his pride in each of us and was proud to fly the flag and display his poppy on his rear view mirror in the car. He was definitely a proud veteran and I was humbled when they performed the ceremony at his funeral. Nothing like a 21 gun salute to honor a soldier, even one who had been out of the service more than 50 years.

Grandpa served in the Army, my Dad and his brothers served in the Navy. Dad never got to serve overseas, but that was because his brothers were over there by Vietnam and they wouldn’t let all the boys from the same family be near the fighting. I’m glad for that, even though I bet part of him wished he could have been there. I’m still super proud of his service and for that of my uncles. Brave men, patriots, and men I’m proud to call my heroes.

My father-in-law served in the Army as well, and my step-dad in the Navy. I think you could say that military values came at me from all angles growing up. My dad tried to get me to enlist, but I fought him on that. Looking back I think I should have listened, but I was just a kid. I didn’t know what I was talking about!

I guess my point in telling you all this is just that while I’m not a veteran, I honor our military. I am humbled that so many soldiers fought and died for our freedom, continue to fight for us. There are no words I can find to express my deepest sympathies to the families of those fallen heroes, so I try and honor them with my actions.

I have passed on the lessons taught to me by my father and grandfather to my sons. I always honor soldiers and veterans whenever I can. We may be in one of those times in history with a lot of turmoil among us, but I believe when you really think about what matters, those who have fought or are fighting for us should be top on the list.

I won’t say “Happy” Memorial Day, because it’s not necessarily a happy occasion. It can be a happy time with your family, but I urge you to remember WHY we have this day off. Remembering our heroes. Those who gave up their lives for us.

Later this summer we have plenty of time to celebrate our nation’s independence, our heroes who are still with us, just party because can are free to do so! But for today, let’s remember our fallen heroes.

For all who fought and died…. I thank you. I thank your families for your sacrifice. I am humbled to be blessed to live in this amazing country.

God bless the USA!

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